Queens Park Shed
New is out, converted is in. A disused sports shed in Centennial Park is the latest ‘found café’ to emerge in the fields of Queens Park. The space is modern and airy, while maintaining the integrity of its past through rustic finishes, quirky light fittings, and a gorgeous water station that employs the original pipes.
Spring Street Social
Never trust a charlatan or chunky fries described as ‘skinny’, right? Forget everything you’ve learnt and head to Bondi Junction’s newest underground bar. The Charlatan ($17) is one of their signature cocktails; with vodka, rhubarb bitters, cinnamon-infused agave and lime juice, it’s a tonic you’ll want to self-medicate with.
TopHat Coffee Merchants
The young couple who made waves down South with Swallow Coffee Traders have gone and done the same thing for the East. Co-owners, Jess Hol and Angus Nicol sold their Rockdale café and set sail for Clovelly, bringing their art of coffee making and their own roaster which rotates single-origin beans (soon to be wholesale).
Dragons Den Food & Wine Bar
A new Asian tapas cocktail bar in the vein of Mamasan has emerged on Bondi Road. Although the darkness inside suggests late night cocktails, the weekend yum cha from 12pm-4pm also lures in curious passers by. I'm a sucker for no-fuss a la carte yum cha and the Den does it well.
The Eastern has grown up: El Topo, Chimmi’s and The Publican offer relaxed dining and drinks, while Anatoli is sophisticated, with elegant Greek food in a fine dining setting. As the middle child, it’s a little neglected, but it could have been the rain - Greek food is great for cold nights!
It's pretty much the only place on Oxford Street where you can dine al fresco and not be in a gutter. At first it seemed to be a chain store fad, but it's actually still popular after all these years, so I thought I'd revisit. While the uniforms, rum and cigars are distinctly Cuban, the food only hints of Havana, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The Flying Squirrel has flown the nest and a new bar named after a ravenous dog has moved in. Although the décor is the same, Rupert’s menu is more sophisticated. They’re still in teething stages with a changing menu based upon customer feedback: the Mini Yeezy Burgers are making a comeback after public outrage.
The team at Brooklyn Hide know their holy boiled bread, and they know their delicious deli fillings. Creating a new wave in Sydney (hopefully one that ends the Mexican surplus), co-owners Dan Littlepage and Matthew Forsdike took their love of New York City’s melting pot of cultures and set up shop in Surry Hills last month.
When getting seen at Ravesi's goldfish bowl wears thin, head to a secluded bar that has one of the best panoramas of Bondi Beach. You could almost miss it above the souvenir shops. Once inside, get cosy amongst whitewashed furniture, fairy lights, candles and even a blanket if it's too cold. I dare you not to start with Sicilian Olives ($5.50) and cocktails.